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Shalit’s father: No reason for optimism

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The father of a kidnapped Israeli soldier says he does not believe his son will be freed in the near future.

Noam Shalit met with new Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday, to discuss the situation of his son, Gilad, who was captured in a cross-border attack and spirited away to Gaza in June 2005.

 "We have no reason to be optimistic. Gilad’s freedom does not appear to be on the horizon. I hope that things will begin to move in a more significant fashion," Noam Shalit said after the hour-long meeting.

He said the family would not celebrate a seder Wednesday night, for the third year in a row, vowing to hold a seder only when Gilad is returned home.

Friends of Gilad Shalit plan to hold a seder in front of Netanyahu’s home on Wednesday night to protest the lack of progress on freeing Shalit, according to Ha’aretz.

Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi said Wednesday that Israel is "making every effort" to bring Shalit home.

"We sent him there and we will bring him back. We are using every possible avenue, and it would not be right to say more than that." Ashkenazi said, according to Ha’aretz. 

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